Guest Post – Dr. Lesley Phillips, Meditation For Children

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There are appointments to keep, deadlines to meet, difficult situations to overcome and unfriendly, bullying people to deal with.

It’s a busy world for adults and children alike. There are appointments to keep, deadlines to meet, difficult situations to overcome and unfriendly, bullying people to deal with. Sometimes it seems we are swimming against the tide in a sea of stress. Yet we continue to have high expectations of ourselves and our kids. After all we only want the best for ourselves and for them.

So we spend a lot of time encouraging our children to excel. We pass on our wisdom and teach them what we know. We provide them with a set of beliefs and concepts about the world and how it works; as well as limits and guidelines for how to successfully navigate their way through it. Sometimes this means we pass on our fears and pain.

kidsSo how many parents have the life skills to cope with stress themselves, let alone teach their children how to handle it? Many of us have little time to relax from a busy schedule consisting of working, volunteering, socializing and looking after the family. Most struggle to cope with even minor issues, let alone divorce, infidelity, illness, unemployment and financial loss, to name but a few of the most common stress factors adults’ face.

So how can we encourage our children to relax and create balance in their lives when we don’t know the first thing about it? You may have a boisterous ten year old, or an overly emotional tween, but if your response is to shout back and attempt to control them, the result will hardly likely be a calm and zen-like offspring.

yogaMeditation helps promote physical health and emotional and spiritual well-being

The benefits of practicing meditation for children have been well studied scientifically and include having an increased attention span, reduced anxiety, increased ability to express compassion and create a peaceful environment for themselves and their peers. As well as increased self-esteem, ability to cope with negative emotions and improved ability to relax and wind down. There are also many scientifically physiological benefits to meditation.

All the above are reasons why I wrote my book “The Midas Tree.” In my practice as a meditation teacher and spiritual counselor I am able to assist many people, but I wanted to share the meditation techniques that I know really work with a wider and broader audience. Especially with children because I have a vision of what is possible if we can provide these skills to people before they venture into the world.

There are many meditation tapes and how to books available on the market, but “The Midas Tree” is something different. It is an adventure story that parents and kids can enjoy reading together. It is a story book that helps you learn about meditating and healing without even realizing that you are because you are having so much fun.

The Midas Tree was written to introduce meditation to children

A recent reviewer told me “You don’t even realize you are learning as you read this fictional story, but you are. I found myself “transforming” like Joshua was as he learned from the Devas and all the other wonderful characters. I stopped to reflect on his lessons myself as I was reading through the book.”

She also told me she was impressed with her son “His favorite was the Black Widow Spider… I was impressed to hear him voice the lesson back to me too that he thought Joshua learned before the spider told Joshua what the lesson was. I felt this book was written in such a way that he was intrigued enough to pay attention, but also he was learning without even realizing it.”

The hero of “The Midas Tree” as you probably have gathered is called Joshua. He discovers a golden acorn in a stream that transports him to another world inside a tree. The book follows him on a life time of adventures as he tries to find his way back home.

Meditation is taught through the mechanism of a fairy tale

Joshua meets many challenges along the way. They are the same types of challenges that we all meet in our day to day lives. The way he overcomes them is by facing himself and his ego and transforming what isn’t working. The mechanism to do this is learning to meditate.

They are the same types of challenges that we all meet in our day to day lives.

As he journeys through the tree, Joshua meets wise teachers, called Devas, who are the keepers of great spiritual secrets. Each one looks after a different realm within the tree and so uses the analogy of the tree and its biology to explain the concepts of meditation to Joshua.

Because Joshua’s mastering of the meditation techniques form part of the adventure, the kids learn in a very easy way. They can follow along as the Devas and other creatures instruct Joshua; if they choose can practice them in their own time.

Engaging characters help capture the attention and make learning easy

I had the book illustrated because I wanted to help paint a picture of the world I had created and its characters, and at the same time give a visual representation of the meditation techniques they practiced. While the paperback version has black and white sketches, the Kindle version is in color and the color images are available on the website too.

My next project will be to create a teaching guide using the pictures, so that teachers can use “The Midas Tree” in the classroom to teach meditation to their pupils. The characters are important because if the child identifies with them as favorite heroes and heroines then they will want to emulate their behavior.

The age that a child is ready to meditate varies, but anywhere from as young as 8 can be appropriate. Around 12 is a good age to read “The Midas Tree”, although it has been read by many adults who loved it just as much as the children did.

lesliephillpisDr. Lesley Phillips is a speaker, author, workshop leader, spiritual and meditation teacher based in Vancouver BC, Canada. Her book “The Midas Tree,” a spiritual adventure story for children of all ages is available on Amazon as a paperback or e-book.